In modern football there are two categories of footballers: hard-working and skilled. A team cannot be built from a single type of players, therefore it must contain the optimum balance, decided by the individual philosophy of each coach. In the first category, we usually include players who are endowed natively or by a continuous skill-training process:

  • Physically – general or speed resistance, spring, force
  • Technically – mastering destructive elements such as dispossession, recovering, rejecting, winning 1^1 duels
  • Intellectually – the feeling of anticipative rejection, rapid and correct evaluation of the unfolding of the opposing attack

The second category includes those who elaborate, create and score the goal. Their qualities are much different from the predecessors’. The athletic ones less, nowadays’ soccer not allowing players who do not possess at least one exceptional physical quality. What sets them apart are technical-tactical skills. Mastering the technical elements of construction such as trapping-carrying-dribbling, expressed in an increased speed regime and introduced for tactical purpose, passing – ousting the opponent – freeing the space – shot at goal characterize the skilled player.

Out of this category I have chosen to write about the most worshipped, cherished or hated – the attackers. Their main task is to score, the supreme satisfaction of all involved.

This is not always easy, defensive organization, marking and, often, bad-luck being fierce opponents to the attackers. According to the applied system, we may use 2 or 3 attackers. In the first case, the two forwards are sensibly different: one is fast, excellent in 1^1 duels and combinations, in exploiting the spaces – the other: massive, strong, great in aerial play and in protecting the ball. In the 3-attacker system, one is usually the tower, the classic central attacker. The exterior ones are awarded the role of wingers and they integrate within the role of speedy technique players.

When the team attacks, the attackers usually occupy the so-called “shot area”, a space within which the time when they can play the ball is limited. In order to score, they must possess high situational abilities. These would be:

  • Technical

–         oriented control and good ball protection
–         small area dribbling
–         kicking the ball with both feet rapidly, precisely and strongly
–         heading

All these technical qualities must be aided by conditional (explosion and rapid force, rapidity and speed, speed resistance) or coordinative abilities (the capacity to react, spatial-temporal perception, balance, orientation, etc.)

  • Morphological – the attackers may have different characteristics: usually they are tall but explosive, potent and resistant in contact with the opponents. Or the other way round: short and fast, explosive.
  • Tactical

–         Performing a break free trick (counter-movement)
–         Decisive space attack for receiving the ball
–         The feeling of the goal
–         Communication with the colleague who delivers the pass (by sense, sign or break-free)

  • Psychological

–         Brave
–         Daring
–         Intelligent

There is one question that remains however: do we form this kind of attacker or wait for what nature offers?

Prof. Ciprian Urican

translated by Prof. Cristian Sandor